Mad About Mad Men

Back in the day, Westport was known as both an artists’ colony, and a town filled with advertising executives.

We’re less artistic than we used to be, and the ad industry is no longer the Madison Avenue leviathian it once was.

But art, advertising and our town intersect twice next month, in a uniquely Westport way.

Next Tuesday (Dec. 1), the Westport Public Library will screen the film “Art and Copy.”  The event — called “Mad About Ad Men” — tells the story of the visionaries who revolutionized advertising with well-remembered ads and slogans.

From the introduction of Volkswagen in America to the triumph of Apple Computers, it explores the creative minds behind the most successful and influential advertising campaigns of the 20th century — people who profoundly impacted our culture, yet are virtually unknown outside their industry.

Mary Warlick, executive director of a non-profit that  promotes excellence in advertising, will introduce the film, and answer questions.

I will ask:  “Isn’t ‘excellence in advertising’ an oxymoron?”

Then, on Monday, Dec. 14, David Bushman, curator of the Paley Center  for Media runs a few ideas up the flagpole, to see if they salute. 

He’ll cover some of the most entertaining and influential ads from 1950 to today.  From Bob & Ray pitching Piels beer to Apple’s “1984” to the Osbournes peddling Pepsi, the library calls it “a trip down memory lane via Madison Avenue.”

With, of course, a detour in Westport.

A vintage ad from the 1950s

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